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  • Lim Ying Jie

3 Types Of Piano Learners

Girl learning piano

Looking back at our learning journey, most of us probably realized we have our own preferences in picking up information. For instance, some of us work better by following written instructions whereas there are others, who would rather do hands-on work to better understand a concept. Likewise, for our students/kids, they have a preferred mode of learning. By identifying their primary mode of learning, we can utilize our teaching strategies better. Here are the characteristics of the different learning modes:

Visual Learners

Visual learners prefer learning through sight. This includes pictures, symbols and demonstrations. As such, they are adept in sight-reading and may be uneasy when told to play from memory. To utilize their strength, teachers can provide flashcards, pictures, or use colors to code the pieces (e.g. melody line, steps/skips identification), or simply demonstrate.

Aural Learners

This group of learners learns best via listening. Rather than reading the notes on the staff, playing on the piano for aural learners to listen will be a more comfortable way for them to learn. When teaching new theory concepts, teachers should allow them to demonstrate their understanding of the concept by playing rather than writing.

Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners have a hard time sitting for long periods of time. Instead of sitting at a piano, incorporate games or body movements to get them engaged! Like aural learners, rather than getting them to explain concepts, they are able to express their understanding better by showing.

Other than maximizing their potential through their primary learning mode, we can also use them to overcome the challenges they face. For instance, visual learners tend to ignore the sound quality they are producing, aural learners may have trouble sight-reading while kinesthetic learners have short attention span and thus, play with the lack of phrasing etc. By taking note of their strengths and weaknesses, we can come up with efficient lesson plans.

Below is an example of teaching the concept of intervals to the different types of learners:

Visual Learners

Step 1: Identify notes and interval on staff

Step 2: Student to play the interval on piano

Step 3: Aural practice to identify the interval

Step 4: Visualize the notes when listening to the interval

Aural Learners

Step 1: Listen to the intervals and identify them

Step 2: Student to play the interval on piano

Step 3: Sing the named interval

Step 4: Write the notes on the staff and play it on the piano

Kinesthetic Learners

Step 1: Assign each solfege to a body part systematically and get student to perform the movement (e.g. toes to head)

Step 2: Student to identify interval by singing and using the movement taught

Step 3: Student to play identified interval on the piano

Step 4: Student to identify the notes and write it on the staff

With this in mind, we can plan our lessons more efficiently, and thus, reduce the frustrations of learning and practice.


Lim Ying Jie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) degree. She is a full time piano teacher with a keen interest in music pedagogy.

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